After twenty-five years of metal one can start to hear little nuances and threads of
similarity within the music. It can be country of origin, band members or writing. Often I
hear an un-researched band for the first time and instantly pick the region, drummer or a
familiar singer correctly. While all of those are certain indicators or familiar patterns
that often run from album to band to genre, none define a sound more than production. That
has been the one mainstay through the last decade that I tend to look for. It can be the
sound of the guitars, the clarity of the snare or the double bass and the producer is the
guy who makes that sound.
I was playing the new Primal Fear record last night and about
forty seconds into track one I pegged Jacob Hansen as producer. It was identifiable
because Hansen normally demands speed. He has "triggered" double bass and his
snare sound has no echo. The whole production is extremely dry and crisp and lent Primal
Fear one of their best sounding albums to date. It pains me when I read reviews that don't
mention production or producer. That is the key to how it all sounds. Does it come across
lively or studio? Is it polished and sterile or loose and dirty? Often if I don't know the
particular genre of an unknown band the producer's name will normally nail it. Producers
tend to work the same genres.
I love lists and I thought it would be fitting for the start of 2014 to list a few
producers that are relevant in today's scene. These could be seasoned veterans or some new
guys that are starting to show up. I've also added some notable works for these producers
and a few key characteristics of their sound. These will be rotating columns from our
writers with about one to two producers posted each month. This will spotlight the
producer and studio and also provide some more links so you can delve into it.
Studio - Jailhouse Studios, Denmark
Mercenary - "11 Dreams", "Architect Of Lies",
"Metalmorphosis", "Through Our Darkest Days"
Volbeat - "Rock The Rebel/Meet The Devil", "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac
Blood", "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies"
Pretty Maids - "Pandemonium", "Motherland"
Destruction - "Thrash Anthems"
Hatesphere - "Hatesphere"
Raunchy - "Death Pop Romance", "A Discord Electric"
Aborted - "Global Flatline"
Primal Fear - "Delivering The Black"
Early in his career Hansen worked a great deal with more aggressive bands like Hatesphere,
Ancient, Aborted and Onslaught. Over the last ten years his style has been associated with
a variety of genres. His name has probably been promoted more with the famed efforts of
Volbeat. He has worked closely with the Danish band on their studio albums as well as the
live record. It is interesting to see his touch on so many facets of recording. He is
obviously known as a producer but works on mastering, mixing and engineering. Hansen has
contributed as a musician in the studio and assisted with song arrangements and placement.
--Dry and crisp sounds overall
--Faster rhythm guitar
--Vocals and leads somewhat low in the mix
--No echo on snare drum
--Cymbals crystal clear
--Triggered double bass/machine like
Hansen normally does about six to ten albums a year. We should see his name on the new
Pyramaze and the debut from The Vision Ablaze this year.